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The Bigger They Are, The Bigger the Ethics Breaches?

by Carolyn Elefant on December 19, 2004 · 62 comments

in Biglaw Practice and Issues, Ethics & Malpractice Issues, Mistakes/What NOT To Do

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Via Ernie the Attorney, we’ve learned of this news item,
Alleged Embezzler Helps Feds Find Cash, Martha Carr,  Times Picayune (12/15/04) that follows up on the arrest of former big firm partner Jame Perdigao for embezzling as much as $20 million from his law firm.   According to the article, Perdigao’s agreement to help investigators recover the money was a condition of his release from jail.  Among other misdeeds, Perdigao pilfered from the law firm’s trust accounts and overbilled clients.

Obviously, Perdigao’s acts deserve not just disbarment but foremost, criminal punishment which he’ll no doubt receive.  And the firm will likely be held accountable as well for failing to safeguard trust accounts or keep closer watch on its errant partner.  But I wonder whether Perdigao is the exception to the rule who just became so brazen that he got caught – or whether there are other attorneys at firms, large and small, who steal from clients and their fellow partners albeit in smaller increments.  Love to hear the inside scoop from any readers.

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